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Title: Avalon
Description: the veil of history parts...


bisonrav - September 29, 2010 07:40 AM (GMT)
Watch this space for a lot of new information on Avalon, Paddy`s band pre-Sprouts, which was previously named Caught in the Act.

Paddy was in fact brought into the band as a guitarist, he didn`t sing, which I hadn`t realised. He did however write a few songs and we have some names for these. We also discover something about Faron Young, and there`s a great story about Sting.

And with that teaser I`ll disappear into the shadows for a training day. Should get some more detail posted later this evening.


GreenJeremy - September 29, 2010 09:52 AM (GMT)
Wow.

Can't wait to learn more.

timonofathens - September 29, 2010 02:47 PM (GMT)
damn,
i was thinking this was a Roxy thread,
but it's even better than that!!
so,
any audio Avalon pending?

bisonrav - September 29, 2010 04:52 PM (GMT)
I'm good, Timon, but I'm not a miracle worker ;)

Hoping for maybe some photos or memorabilia

bisonrav - September 29, 2010 05:45 PM (GMT)
Right, here we go...

All from Roy McCalvey, who was the bass player in Avalon. Came via a series of e-mails, and it's an ongoing correspondence.

Spooky really. A few weeks ago I was thinking about wik and how there shud be an extention to prefab history with the two previous bands. Wud like to help. I can give u reason for 'Caught in the Act'/'Avalons' demise(paddy joined when we were 'caught in the act')-songs we did in the set (of Paddys and the others songs and covers)-Paddy was a lovely bloke without any sides to him. I live in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He once did an awesome refit of SATISFACTION but we split before ever performing it. An awesome guitarist!! ps Paddy once wrote a song in rehearsal with drummer Johnny Darmo called 'SCREAMING'...how it all floods back!!

Ho ho. Paddy was always first to turn up at rehearsals and that was when we spoke the most, that 20 mins before the rest turned up. Faron Young 4 in the morning was a hit at no 4 i think. But it stayed about that position for weeks and weeks and paddy and I HATED it and would joke about it in those times. God that record stuck like something nasty to the toilet bowl. Obviously it all made a bad impression on paddy cos he imortalised it in his own song. I've not listened to much of the sprouts stuff cos i realised what we'd lost when he went. He still came to c us a few times when we restarted with others in band but i didnt say much to him. His mate Tony Coyle was our lead singer and introduced him to us as a guitarist. I recall he played an accoustic song THE WALTZ during one of our sets at the Bay Hotel. I waltzed with a girl in the audience who i picked out at random (i recall she had a big bust) as paddy played. Another time we were about to play and p burst into the opening chords of PRETTY VACANT -in the chrts at the time- the aud were disapointed when he stopped after a few chords cos we didnt know it.

Yeah. Good track and stage stuff but it still hurts, you know. Our band/s were pretty stupid. We shud have heard paddys stuff then cleared the decks of our crap so as to accomodate a unique sound and obvious success. I was thankful of paddys rhythm work cos i was not a real musician as a bassist and he filled in so much of the sound. TRUE STORY when we formed, of the five, i decided to play bass cos no one else wanted to. So the lads took me up to see what a bass guitarist played, fingers on fretbd etc. I sat at the front and watched with sinking heart as the lead singer/bassist covered every centimetre of his fretboard in the first few minutes. Went home so depressed. The band was LAST EXIT-the bassist was, a teacher called GORDON SUMNER (sting). Shortly after they took their families to london to make it they encountered difficulties and sting joined the police. I remember how we laughed, STING HAS JOINED A PUNK BAND! We also laughed when we heard that PADDY HAS FORMED A BAND CALLED PREFAB SPROUT (and has a residency at BAMBARAS in town newcastle.) The laughs were on me in both cases!!

5th man Leo McCabe. Singer, bassist(sometimes when I played rhythm and sang some of my songs)and rhythm.

jailbee - September 29, 2010 05:52 PM (GMT)
That was great!!

qmbcole - September 29, 2010 06:28 PM (GMT)
Great it was indeed! Even a Sting reference for Timon!!

Love how he knew what they had lost once it had moved on!

GreenJeremy - September 29, 2010 07:25 PM (GMT)
Very evocative picture painted there, and quietly touching.

Someone really needs to write a proper book about Pop's Last Great Songwriter.

Rae - September 29, 2010 07:27 PM (GMT)
bisonrav, you've heard it many times here, but not from me yet, so here goes: You're a miracle and a wonderful member of sproutnet, and Lord knows what 2010 would've been like around here without you. Thank you.

That said, and taking into account what Julie Burchill says about the name Prefab Sprout in that recently scanned letter: One wonders what would've happened if the name Caught In the Act had, uhm, caught on and stuck; it fits so perfectly with a lot of similarly named 80's bands that I can just picture it on top of the charts throughout the decade. What a brilliantly cheesy boy band name.

O wait, there WAS a boy-band named Caught In the Act in the early 90's I was just advised by those nerds over at wikipedia. Forget my post, but not the first paragraph.

bisonrav - September 29, 2010 07:34 PM (GMT)
Caught in the Act was a classic cabaret band name, had a mate who played bass in a similar band in the late 1970s, was the sort of band that played covers in working mens clubs.

Avalon as a name sounds a bit folk prog, interesting change really.

Just out of interest, the Sprout residency mentioned was presumably at:

http://www.pubsnewcastle.co.uk/Balmbras.html


timonofathens - September 29, 2010 09:02 PM (GMT)
hang on,
in Birch's book,
he makes reference to an even earlier Paddy group called,
ba bum bum,
The Doubles.
if you can find ANY recording of that group,
i'll let my pet dolphin change your diapers.

nice Sting anecdote too!!

bisonrav - September 29, 2010 09:35 PM (GMT)
Sounds like a challenge ;)

Been just a little more, but to be honest a lot of the conversation is nattering about music and football now. No memorabilia, but Roy is running a film project which there's a link to on the gigography - it's crazy but a lot of fun, you may need a NE sensibility to understand the concept. He's looking for investors too. He thinks other band members might have posters and photos and such, but he's not in touch with them, and Leo is dead. So I'll explore that avenue too.

But back to Avalon:

"Caught was same band. Paddy joined shortly after we started gigging. John changed name cos he picked it and didnt like it, then he pushed for AVALON and didnt like that either! When Paddy left we became AVALON 2."


James L - September 29, 2010 09:36 PM (GMT)
Wasn't there an anecdote or something from Rollmo mag about Avalon. A fan who had seen them in Whitley Bay remembered the song 'Walk On' and when she heard the PS song she realised who she and her friends had seen all those years ago? Just went to Bedford McIntosh's site but it's down.

I think this guy replaced Paddy in Avalon - Steve Daggert

http://www.stevedaggett.co.uk/history.htm

bisonrav - September 29, 2010 09:50 PM (GMT)
Steve Daggett was in Avalon but postdating Paddy at which time they weren't doing any of his songs, I asked about that. He was also in Lindisfarne (Winter Song by Lindisfarne/Alan Hull is one of the greatest songs ever written by the way, have a listen on Youtube, apparently Steve did a cover and took it to Alan to release, he refused but took him into the band).

The material from the fanzine is all on http://psgigs.wikispaces.com - it's a fans eye view, very interesting.

On the doubles, the key here will be tracking down Tony Coyle, which I'm working on. From Bedford's site (or the cache thereof), quoting another friend:

"I was already there and he joined our sixth form and we were in the same class for English A level. In addition, I also started to play music with him and his close friend Tony Coyle (who taught in Bishop Auckland, when I saw him last). Note that Tony was acknowledged for technical support on Andromeda Heights.

"They were both brilliant guitarists, I was a bum guitarist, but also played recorders especially tenor, which interested Paddy to the extent that he wrote a song for the school Christmas concert for 2 guitars and tenor recorder. He was so self conscious that he told everybody that it was an obscure Peter Gabriel song and as he was the King of musicology in our eyes we never questioned it! For the life of me I cannot remember the title of that tune.

"We also played at a teachers/parents school evening at a local town under name "The Doubles" which was a name he and Tony had appeared under before in another small concert; its naffness appealed to him especially as there were 3 of us at the time."

Rivermoving - September 29, 2010 09:53 PM (GMT)
Spot on, James, The fan in question was Sue Dyer, and you can read her article in Rollmo! here:

http://www.ferhiga.com/prefab/fanzines/ps-...0203-01_eng.htm

And of course on the PSgig site!

http://psgigs.wikispaces.com/Avalon1977

Rivermoving - September 29, 2010 10:01 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (bisonrav @ Sep 29 2010, 09:50 PM)
On the doubles, the key here will be tracking down Tony Coyle, which I'm working on. From Bedford's site (or the cache thereof), quoting another friend:


Ah! Good spot, br! There are indeed lots of hidden gems at Bedford's site, if one knows how to connect all the facts.

rock smith - September 30, 2010 12:01 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (GreenJeremy @ Sep 29 2010, 07:25 PM)


Someone really needs to write a proper book about Pop's Last Great Songwriter.

Get on it!.. ;)

GreenJeremy - September 30, 2010 12:33 PM (GMT)
:) I might have tried to write this if I'd ever made a serious go at music journalism, but I've ended up doing other things. I think it would have to be a well-known music journalist to get published, someone along the lines of Mark Radcliffe or, my preferred choice, Stuart Maconie, who knows Paddy. A small press fan-written book might well be more comprehensive, but I think it would be possible for a major publisher to be interested and for it still to do Paddy McAloon justice.

ALL MY LAZY TEENAGE BOASTS: THE STORY OF POP'S LAST GREAT SONGWRITER

From his days as a petrol pump attendant in north-eastern England to his time in a seminary, guitarist in covers band Avalon and on through chart success with Prefab Sprout, Paddy McAloon's life has been filled with the mundane and the spectacular...

That sort of thing. I don't think it's too delusional to think there would be a market for it, although it's not going to outsell Twilight. But all recent interviews with Paddy play on his mystique, the hermit, the beard. Easy enough to use that angle as a hook, and once people are hooked in, get more to the heart of it. The key to getting it done would be persuading Paddy to sit down for a week and then talk him through all his memories. Then interview the other band members, Dolby, Armstrong, get some quotes from Bjork and Robbie Williams to get some press, and so on. A portrait of the north-east of England at the start, with all the sorts of thing this thread is going to be about. And gradually turning into a portrait of the perils of 80s cheestastic popdom, through illness and fears and then marriage, all of it driven by amazing songwriting. I really think Maconie could write it well, and I think it would get readers. A massive Mojo article, essentially. But also something that could be enlightening, fascinating, amusing, moving - and finally make it clear just how great this man's songs are and make it clear he's one of Britain's greatest living songwriters.

I now return this thread to a discussion of Avalon. :)

bisonrav - September 30, 2010 12:45 PM (GMT)
I`ve got a plan to contact Stuart Maconie and a route to do this, and when I do I`ll include that synopsis. Shouldn`t be long either.

If I could have anything though. it`d be a Paddy autobiography, or even a novel. He`s a brilliant writer.

GreenJeremy - September 30, 2010 03:15 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (bisonrav @ Sep 30 2010, 12:45 PM)
I`ve got a plan to contact Stuart Maconie and a route to do this, and when I do I`ll include that synopsis. Shouldn`t be long either.

If I could have anything though. it`d be a Paddy autobiography, or even a novel. He`s a brilliant writer.

Oh, excellent news! But please do write a better synopsis than the one I've just done, which is rubbish. I think the angle of the book and the book itself would hopefully be a bit different. The best angles to sell such a book, I suspect, would be the eccentricity of it: you know, the hermit with the beard who's secretly a lost genius. And also the Britishness of it: only in Britain, to the home of Ansa Motors, it always rains in Durham County, etc. Then that it would be done by Maconie (if by him), who knows Paddy well (I think), is a fan, a superb music journalist, but who could also bring out some of the pathos and warmth of it. Beyond this sales pitch, I think you could get something that informed us as fans, educated people about McAloon's status and elevate that status, but that would also be an evocative and touching and warm and funny portrait of him, the band, and a segment of the British music scene since the late 70s.

GUESS THIS WORLD NEEDS ITS DREAMERS might be a better title for this project. :)

I agree that Paddy McAloon is a brilliant writer, and I'd dearly love to read a novel or a memoir by him. I just think that is extremely unlikely to happen. A book about him is very unlikely to happen I think, but not as unlikely. :)

bisonrav - September 30, 2010 06:51 PM (GMT)
just a little bit more, having pointed Roy at the piece from Rollmo as quoted on the gigography:

"Re reading the 1977 AVALON gig. Only song we did on the list was WALK ON, as good as BACHARACH that one. We didnt have Marsden in our rep, nor Rock n roll. We didnt do em!!!We did have an eagles song but at mo I cant recall which but IT def wasnt the two possible listed. The review says they all liked our WEEPS but we never did that one either. DID NOT have them in rep at all. Memory is a funny thing!"

Rivermoving - September 30, 2010 09:35 PM (GMT)
Interesting that Roy clearly remembers the songs they DIDN'T play, but doesn't remember the songs they DID play. I wouldn't rule out Sue Dyer's memory completely, as her testimony was written 15 (?) years ago, thus closer to the actual events.

Rivermoving - September 30, 2010 10:09 PM (GMT)
Jeremy: YES, great writeup!

Bisonrav: YES, do keep tracking Maconie down, he could be the ideal choice for a writer.

Title proposition: INSIGHTS FROM RETROSPECT. The compleat story of Paddy McAloon and Prefab Sprout.

Rivermoving - September 30, 2010 10:31 PM (GMT)
[Removed fiddling]

James L - September 30, 2010 10:45 PM (GMT)
What we really want is Alex Ross to write a book about Paddy, tracing the tributaries of melody and ideas that fed into ITTM. The rest we pretty much know.

Rivermoving - October 1, 2010 06:52 AM (GMT)
I would say we pretty much don't know anything! Paddy's been highly private about his childhood and adolescent years - his personal life on the whole. His parents, life with his brothers, his girlfriends, his teachers... all those people that formed him as a person. Not to mention establishing a chronology of his songwriting career, of which merely the tip of the iceberg has been published.

James L - October 1, 2010 07:36 AM (GMT)
But long after you've finished reading the biography you'll still be listening to the music. What I would like the most is for Paddy's music to be given the scrutiny it deserves by a great writer. I feel I know as much biographical detail as I need to know.

GreenJeremy - October 1, 2010 08:07 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (James L @ Oct 1 2010, 07:36 AM)
But long after you've finished reading the biography you'll still be listening to the music. What I would like the most is for Paddy's music to be given the scrutiny it deserves by a great writer. I feel I know as much biographical detail as I need to know.

Sure, but why limit that only to ITTW?

In fantasyland, such a book would be the ideal opener for Paddy to release more material. Every time I've read an article where he talks about the albums he has written but not released, I salivate. So do lots of other Prefab Sprout fans. A book like this would have that effect, but more so. I'm not saying there would people marching in the streets for the next album, but if the book were done well, and had some success, there would be more interest.

Here are some books I think it could be roughly similar to in style and commercial success:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cider-Roadies-Stua...pd_bxgy_b_img_b

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thank-You-Days-Adv.../ref=pd_sim_b_3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Patient-True-Story...85920304&sr=1-3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Music-Giles-S.../ref=pd_sim_b_3

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Different-Girls-gi...85920362&sr=1-1

There are many more. Obviously, a book written by Paddy McAloon himself would be preferable, and I suspect excellent, and would do well. But I think that is much more unlikely.

INSIGHTS FROM RETROSPECT is a great title. :)

bisonrav - October 1, 2010 08:08 AM (GMT)
More from Roy:

Two more songs I remember-MARBLE HALLS and STRANGE SILHOUETTES. Both Paddy songs. When we did these I knew we were onto another level, it was our SERG PEPPER-so excited. But we never performed either cos we split.DAMN.

You wonder whether Strange Silhouettes was Silhouettes, and I'll ask him about that.

BTW, I prefer "My Lazy teenage boasts" as a title. Or "Moving past what really has no name"

Robinbrevard - October 1, 2010 02:04 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (GreenJeremy @ Oct 1 2010, 08:07 AM)

INSIGHTS FROM RETROSPECT is a great title. :)

Agreed; nice graphic there, River!

All right, then: those inclined to such things (of course not you JFC) let's pray that Maconie responds favorably to B-rav's entreaty...

;)

Rivermoving - October 1, 2010 10:37 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Robinbrevard @ Oct 1 2010, 02:04 PM)
QUOTE (GreenJeremy @ Oct 1 2010, 08:07 AM)

INSIGHTS FROM RETROSPECT is a great title. :)

Agreed; nice graphic there, River!

Thanks. Mind you, I dashed out that cover in less than five minutes. I only did it for fun in a surge of energy. It's not meant to be serious. But as for the title, I like it a lot - until someone has a better idea.

James L: I understand and respect our point of view. A lot of people prefer not wanting to know too much about their favourite artist or writer. The image might get tarnished. I have experienced that myself with certain books; but more often I've come away with a fuller understanding and appreciation of an artist or writer, having read an account of their lives.

And certainly a book of this kind would also include analysis of the songs. In fact, it could well be the backbone of the book along with the biographical thread.

Jeremy: great links to some great books. Ben Watt's "Patient" is heartbreaking. Imagine Paddy writing a similar account about his illness, how it affects his career, his family. TMI, for sure, but fascinating. Still, I remember an interview with him where he says he wouldn't have the patience to write a novel or a book.

GreenJeremy - October 2, 2010 12:54 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Rivermoving @ Oct 1 2010, 10:37 PM)

And certainly a book of this kind would also include analysis of the songs. In fact, it could well be the backbone of the book along with the biographical thread.

Yes. I think, if we're talking in theoretical terms about what we'd like from a book about Prefab Sprout, that my preference would also be for a balance between these two elements, ie:

Biography of the band - their upbringing, their inspirations, hopes, dreams, aspirations, difficulties, etc
Analysis of the songwriting

They're linked, of course.

I think there are 'dangers' inherent in both types of material. Analysis of songwriting can be very sterile, and rather pointless, unless it offers substantial insight. Biographical material can become both overly detailed and intrusive. Even if it were possible to discover, I'm not sure I want to know too much about Paddy McAloon's home life - just a bit more than I know already. But, for example, a few quotes from people who knew him when he was a young man would be interesting. What was it like being in Avalon with him? We already know a little, now. If we find the snippets of information we now know about this, and the Barry McGurk recordings interesting, why would we find it less interesting to know a little more? Imagine a chapter on Caught In The Act and Avalon, or a chapter on Barry McGurk. And what was Paddy McAloon like at university? That story about Wendy at the gig would also be interesting, I think. Again, I'm not sure it would be advisable to delve into their relationship - that's private. But an idea of where it fitted into the forming of the band, and of the music, would be worthwhile, I think, if possible and done with the sensitivity such subjects require.

But I think where 'biography' is most useful is in how it relates to the music directly, by which I mean the making of the music. I'd like to have a fuller story about Paddy sitting in that room playing songs to Dolby, from both men. I'd like to be transported into that room, if I can be. Every time I go into a newsagent there's a copy of Mojo or Uncut or Classic Rock promising an in-depth look at the making of an album. The cover of the last issue of Uncut has an in-depth look at the making of The Clash's Sandinista album, for example: 'The Untold Story'. I'm not especially interested in that album, but it made me think that surely every album has such a story. Beyond the knob-twiddling tediousness of making an album, I reckon an interesting article could be written about pretty much every album ever made. They're not all going to have the drama of Rumours, but human relationships can always be drawn out with research, empathy and fine writing. Such articles are the bedrock of these magazines. (I've always wanted to write one about Miles Davis' last album, Doo-Bop, which I don't think has been done, partly because it's not a brilliant album and it has hip-hop elements. But Miles Davis in New York with a rap producer, dying in the middle of making it? I'm interested.)

I digress. :) I think this is where a book on Prefab Sprout could shine. How did they make the albums? That is where you can merge an analysis of the material with the human relationships and dynamics. What songs were cut from Steve McQueen? What did Paddy think about that? What choices were made, and what were not made? There would be technical information, of course, about what guitar was used for which effect, but I think it's really the human interaction behind the making of several masterpieces in modern music that would make the book. If you think of the journey behind Swoon, and that behind I Trawl The Megahertz or Let's Change The World With Music, and imagine a very much extended Mojo article that interviews all the key people, including Paddy McAloon, at length... well, I think that would make a good book. :)

rock smith - October 2, 2010 01:41 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (GreenJeremy @ Oct 2 2010, 12:54 PM)
I've always wanted to write one about Miles Davis' last album, Doo-Bop, which I don't think has been done, partly because it's not a brilliant album and it has hip-hop elements. But Miles Davis in New York with a rap producer, dying in the middle of making it? I'm interested.

Easy Mo Bee interview

Another approach to rock biography,which could work well for someone like Paddy who plays his wild cards very close to his chest is a 'in their own words' style book.There is a Sly and the Family Stone one that came out about 10 years ago,completely made from quotes ,edited in such a way to make a picture of the whole.

GreenJeremy - October 2, 2010 02:07 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (rock smith @ Oct 2 2010, 01:41 PM)
QUOTE (GreenJeremy @ Oct 2 2010, 12:54 PM)
I've always wanted to write one about Miles Davis' last album, Doo-Bop, which I don't think has been done, partly because it's not a brilliant album and it has hip-hop elements. But Miles Davis in New York with a rap producer, dying in the middle of making it? I'm interested.

Easy Mo Bee interview

Another approach to rock biography,which could work well for someone like Paddy who plays his wild cards very close to his chest is a 'in their own words' style book.There is a Sly and the Family Stone one that came out about 10 years ago,completely made from quotes ,edited in such a way to make a picture of the whole.

But he only talks about working with Miles for three minutes, and says nothing about it other than that it was great and Davis was an innovator. :) I'm Facebook friends with this guy, and have considered doing this, but I don't have the time (the lengths of my posts here notwithstanding!). But for me, I think the starting point is that picture of Miles in New York with his windows open, hip-hop floating in, and thinking of creating some himself. Easy Mo Bee is here talking in an interview in a rather laid back way, but it's not a deep investigation. I think someone would have to go out to New York and spend quite a lot of time with him before he opened up and told you what Miles was really like during those days. I suspect it would be a hard article to sell, though, because people are naturally primarily interested in how the best material is made. But the stories behind Birth of the Cool and so on have already been told. Sadly, I think the way these things work is that a lot of fascinating history is ignored, or even lost. I think precisely how Miles worked together with this hip-hop producer, why he did, his attitude to the music, what he was like in the studio and his life at the time, and his death in the middle of it and how they completed the album, would make for a fascinating article. The Last Days of Miles Davis. But a hard sell, because it's seen as a fluffly lightweight album that's nowhere near his best, and because of the format and mixing of hip-hop, which I think is one of the most interesting aspects of it, is seen as less interesting than jazz-rock albums with (in my view) weaker material.

To get this back to Prefab Sprout :), I think if a journalist is interested enough and has the right ideas, this sort of approach can be extremely interesting. I like those in their own words books, and have a number of them on unrelated topics (Groovy Bob, on the art dealer Robert Fraser, is excellent, and a fascinating insight into the Sixties, with contributions by McCartney and many others from the time). But it all depends on who is doing it. I think it would be a real shame if it were someone like Maconie not to have their insight into what is in the room when the people are speaking, and their insights on the material themselves. I think if you visited some of the clubs Paddy played in and soaked up the atmosphere, talked to his old teachers, and sat down with Paddy and the rest of the band for some solid interviews, you could get a brilliant book. But it would, of course, be a harder sell than any article or book about Miles Davis.

James L - October 2, 2010 04:24 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
James L: I understand and respect our point of view. A lot of people prefer not wanting to know too much about their favourite artist or writer. The image might get tarnished. I have experienced that myself with certain books; but more often I've come away with a fuller understanding and appreciation of an artist or writer, having read an account of their lives


That's not really the reason why I wouldn't want it. I think it's a deflection from the real mystery, which is the music. The reason I mentioned Alex Ross and ITTM is that Ross does talk about the writer as well as the writing. I think he would take those elements of Gavin Bryars, Miles and Gil Evans, Debussy, Ravel and tell us much more about McAloon than we could ever hope to learn from biography. My fantasy book would be where he took Cruel/Desire As/Nightingales/Andromeda Heights/Farmyard Cat/ITTM/Earth the Story So Far and wrote a chapter on each mixing in depth analysis and unfolding of the compositions along with some relevant biography. It would probably be a massive flop but I'd read it again and again, which is not something I think I would do with a biog. Surely you want a book you can go back to again and again?

GreenJeremy - October 2, 2010 05:10 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (James L @ Oct 2 2010, 04:24 PM)
QUOTE
James L: I understand and respect our point of view. A lot of people prefer not wanting to know too much about their favourite artist or writer. The image might get tarnished. I have experienced that myself with certain books; but more often I've come away with a fuller understanding and appreciation of an artist or writer, having read an account of their lives


That's not really the reason why I wouldn't want it. I think it's a deflection from the real mystery, which is the music. The reason I mentioned Alex Ross and ITTM is that Ross does talk about the writer as well as the writing. I think he would take those elements of Gavin Bryars, Miles and Gil Evans, Debussy, Ravel and tell us much more about McAloon than we could ever hope to learn from biography. My fantasy book would be where he took Cruel/Desire As/Nightingales/Andromeda Heights/Farmyard Cat/ITTM/Earth the Story So Far and wrote a chapter on each mixing in depth analysis and unfolding of the compositions along with some relevant biography. It would probably be a massive flop but I'd read it again and again, which is not something I think I would do with a biog. Surely you want a book you can go back to again and again?


Yes, but I also want a book that exists. :)

I think the commercial aspect of it is crucial, because - for me, anyway - I'd prefer something that had a lot of information in it I knew already, as long as it had a lot I didn't and would also reposition Paddy McAloon and increase interest in his music. The latter, I think, could lead to greater commercial success for him, but also greater confidence and perhaps more music released. I also think he just deserves his due.

It would, I think, be relatively easy to find someone who could write a self-published or small-press published book on Prefab Sprout. Several people in this forum could do that, I expect. I reckon I could write a decent book on them from the material already published. I haven't read any of Alex Ross's books, but I don't have much knowledge about the composers you mention. Then again, perhaps he doesn't have some knowledge that others have. We all, I expect, have our ideal Prefab Sprout book if we think about it. But while that's fun to think about and discuss, I'd rather actually read one, and that entails practical considerations. Does Alex Ross know Paddy McAloon's work, enjoy it, want to write a book about him, have publishers that do? I suspect the answers to all those are no. It would surely be easy enough for someone who could answer all four to interview Alex Ross about some of these topics.

I think a lot of people could write interesting books about Paddy McAloon. The main ingredients I would like to see, though, and which would be much harder to get, are Paddy's involvement, and a major publisher. To get both, I suspect you would have to know Paddy McAloon and be a well known music critic.

One of the best books of this type I've read is Michael Veal's biography of Fela Kuti. Veal is a professor of music at Yale specializing in jazz, popular music, and African and Caribbean music, but he was also a saxophonist in in Fela's Egypt 80. The book explores all aspects of Fela's life, but also puts it into social and political context and has some excellent analysis of the music. Paddy McAloon would naturally need a very different approach, but I think it would require a very established music critic who was also a long-time fan of Prefab Sprout to do him justice.

rock smith - October 2, 2010 07:01 PM (GMT)
[QUOTE=GreenJeremy,Oct 2 2010, 02:07 PM] The Last Days of Miles Davis. But a hard sell, because it's seen as a fluffly lightweight album that's nowhere near his best, and because of the format and mixing of hip-hop, which I think is one of the most interesting aspects of it, is seen as less interesting than jazz-rock albums with (in my view) weaker material.


Not wanting to go off on a tangent,I think there is an audience for such an article in the magazine Wax Poetics. Miles seems to have done what he usually did,in hiring the freshest talents of the times,and utilizing their talents
in unexpected ways,which usually meant putting them through hell.:lol:

Dave Simpson's book on The Fall,written through tracking down and interviewing the 40+ ex-band members
also covers internet fan m-boards,(where he interacts and looks for possible leads)
and seems the way modern rock books are approached. Get an angle (ex-members,the crazy Mark E Smith etc) mixed with some personal stuff about the author,for people who don't even like The Fall or music.It's a good,easy read, with a quote from M.E.S about the author and book proudly on the cover(I fuckin' hate that twat,I just burnt it!) which seems the way publishers see books about music .but three books about The Fall over the last few years seems overkill for a band that never really troubled the charts and still have to gig constantly to make a living.

on the other hand(btw,not saying the fall book is crap)Eye Mind: Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators by Paul Drummond took years write and get published,but it's a great documentary of the band and argues successfully that the band should be seen as pioneers and one of the greatest Rock n Roll bands.And it succeeds in making you want to listen to the music,with pointers on the bits to look out for that transcend 'good'.

Anyway,this is about Avalon,love the Spinal Tapism of the name change to 'Avalon 2' when Paddy left the band..




B)

Jamie - October 2, 2010 09:23 PM (GMT)
Just had a flick through this thread, interesting stuff. If I ever wrote a book about the Sprouts, I was going to call it:

SAVE YOUR SPEECHES: THE PREFAB SPROUT STORY

(from the end of Bonny, yeah?) But if anyone steals the title and does the job for me, I will be ecstatic!

Robinbrevard - October 3, 2010 09:35 AM (GMT)
All right, we've got two great book titles, several excellent approaches, enthusiastic readers ... all we need is a willing author (OK, I guess a willing publisher might also be helpful).

Over to you, Stuart....

rock smith - October 4, 2010 03:49 PM (GMT)
user posted image

user posted image
The Bay Hotel circa the 90's
Unfortunately it has since been knocked down,and flats built on the site. As you can see,it was a big place,with a restaurant
on the first floor.I only know that because I went for a meal there once.Very reasonable,if I remember. ;)
I also have a feeling that the photo's of the band around the time of 'If You Don't Love Me' were taken on Tynemouth Beach,just a stones throw away.




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